Embroidery Embellishment

Grey baby sweater with stylized flower motif in bright colours worked in intarsia and bordered with brightly coloured embroidered stitches.

Sometimes a project needs just a little more than colourful areas of intarsia. Embroidery is an effective way to give your knits a polished look. You can revitalize old knits (even commercial knits) or plan to embellish your project from the get go.

One page design submission with photo of swatch, sketch, design notes and entitled Embellished Flower Pullover.

From the beginning I knew that I wanted to smooth out the lines of this colourful flower with some embroidered stitches. It would be a fun way to add even more colour and texture to a cute baby sweater. I thought you might like to see the design submission I sent in for 60 More Quick Baby Knits.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done any embroidery, but once you know how, you never forget, right? Well, if that’s not quite the case for everyone, here’s a tutorial to help you brush up on your technique.

How To Create a Chain Stitch Embroidered Border on Your Knits

1. Start by threading a blunt-tipped needle with the colour of your choice.

Two concentric oval shapes on back of sweater with a threaded needle in a different colour.

I’m using Cascade 220 Superwash Sport for both the project and the embroidery. The weight of yarn you use doesn’t have to be exactly the same as your project. Just keep the scale within reason. I probably wouldn’t use bulky embroidery yarn on a lace-weight project!

2. From the wrong side, insert your needle through the fabric to the right side and pull the yarn through.

Fingers holding a tapestry needle pulling a loop of yarn through the knitted fabric at the edge of the intarsia motif.

3. Insert the needle into the same place where the yarn emerged, then bring the needle tip back through to the RS a short distance away (a stitch length) and wrap the yarn around the tip of the needle.

Fingers holding tapestry needle that's taken a stitch in the knitted fabric and the yarn is looped under the tip of the needle.

4. Gently pull the needle and yarn through the fabric until the stitch is a tear-drop shape (pointed on one end and rounded on the other).

First chain stitch created with tapestry needle and yarn almost pulled tight.

5. Make the next stitch in the chain by going back into the first stitch where the yarn emerges and bring the needle tip up outside of the stitch.

Thumb holding yarn out of the way as tapestry needle takes another stitch.

6. Be sure the yarn is wrapped around the tip of the needle before pulling the yarn through.

Fingers holding yarn looped under tip of needle while needle is still inserted in knitted fabric.

7. When completing the enclosed shape, slip the needle under the both sides of the first stitch created and pull the yarn through.

Stitched chain encircles knitted motif and thumb holds yarn out of way as needle is slipped under both strands from first stitch worked to close the circle.

Finish off by inserting the needle into the last st where the yarn emerges and pull through to the back.

Fingers inserting tapestry needle into centre of previously worked stitch to close the last chain stitch.

Purple oval with red centre on grey background with pink chain stitches bordering it.

Sometimes I change my mind about the right colour combination to use, so I pulled out those stitches and did it again with a different colour!

Blue chain stitches border larger purple oval while pink chain stitches border smaller red oval in centre.

Next time I’ll show you how to achieve the same look as the embroidered chain stitch, but using a crochet hook instead.